Nigeria’s National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has announced Pinnacle Communications Plc as the signal distributor for Federal Capital Territory Abuja. This was announced at the reconciliation of both parties that were once in court.
The Court cases instituted by Pinnacle Communications Ltd against the National Broadcasting Commission have been resolved. This statement was made by Mr. Dipo Onifade, a Director with Pinnacles Communications Ltd during a reconciliatory, interactive meeting with the Commission.
He noted that since the beginning of the year, there have been series of consultations with the Minister of Information and Culture. Adding that as soon as the Director General, Mr. Is’haq Modibbo Kawu, assumed duties, he had initiated several meetings and discussions as well, on how to resolve the stalemate.
Onifade pointed out that Pinnacle Communications Ltd has every confidence in the ability of the Director General and the Management of the National Broadcasting Commission. He expressed his happiness that the DG has taken the bull by the horns by deciding to implement precisely the Federal Government policy on the Transition.
He stated further that, as a Nigerian Company, Pinnacle Communication’s resolve was to make sure that Nigeria successfully transited to Digital terrestrial transmission environment.
“As a company, we will do our utmost best to make sure that we do not leave any stone unturned towards the success of this project, and will collaborate on a daily basis with the Commission and provide our full support to the DSO project. Your Success is our success,” he concluded.
Responding, the Director General, NBC, Mr. I’shaq Modibbo Kawu, expressed his pleasure for the visit of Pinnacle Communications Ltd. to the Commission’s headquarters in Abuja.
He noted that since his assumption of office as the Director General of the NBC, he has made concerted efforts to meet with the different stakeholders in the Broadcasting industry, as well as, the public of the NBC. Those consultations, he stated, were conscious part of a process of not only attuning himself with the varied perspectives within the industry, but were also to help him know better the processes, perspectives and personalities, that influence the environment within which the Commission carried out its functions as regulator of Nigerian broadcasting.
“Our gathering today, which brings us together with the leaders of Pinnacle Communications Limited, is therefore part of that process of orientation for me”, he acknowledged.
Mr. Kawu pointed out that, there was, however, a greater imperative for the meeting than many of the other meetings that he has held since assuming office as the DG, NBC. This, he noted was because, there was a subsisting legal issue between Pinnacle Communications Limited and the National Broadcasting Commission, which he noted, did not have to reach the point where the relationship between the two partied broke down to the point of one of the parties going to courts to seek legal redress.
“Pinnacle Communications Limited is a very strong leader in the Nigerian broadcasting industry. And over the years, our Commission developed a very cordial and mutually-beneficial relationship with them. We collaborated in different areas of endeavour that further strengthened our relationship.”
The Director General pointed out that, “the irony could not have been lost to all the parties involved in the Nigerian digital transition process, that the only company that has strongly shown commitment to that process, by paying a huge sum of money to become the Second National Signal Distributor, is now the one that has gone to court. So while other stakeholders were brought into the process, and business went on, there was an elephant in the room, which everyone seemed to pretend was not consequential. And that was the legal action taken by Pinnacle Communications Limited. Yet, it was clear that for as long as it was not resolved, one way or the other, the DSO was going to remain tainted and mired in some form of controversy.”
He admitted that finding a resolution to that problem was an important issue for him, from the moment that he was appointed Director General of the NBC. He disclosed that he held several meetings with representatives of Pinnacle Communications Limited on the sore points that led to their seeking legal redress.
Furthermore, he explained that the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Muhammed, also played a major role in seeking a resolution of the impasse as well as giving the reassurances, that led to a point where the two parties agreed that, “they needed to move on from distrust, to a re-affirmation of commitment to finding success, collectively, for the Nigerian DSO.”
The DG stated that he was happy to report that the parties have reached substantial agreement in the interest of Nigeria’s DSO. “Pinnacle Communications Limited is fully back into the DSO process,” he declared.
Similarly, he continued, “we have also taken a decision, going forwards, that Pinnacle Communications Limited, would serve as the signal distributor for the next phase of the DSO, for which we have tentatively chosen the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. That decision is a reflection of how far we have gone to remove distrust between the parties. It is also a vote of confidence in the ability of a Nigerian company, in this case, Pinnacle Communications Limited, to be part of a historic process, that of the transition from analogue to digital broadcasting in our country.”
He assured the Commission’s stakeholders of the commitment of the National Broadcasting Commission, to continue to provide the level playing field for the resolution of problems that might arise in the process of the DSO. “We are on the cusp of history and we are determined to complete the process to the satisfaction of the Nigerian people. It should be underscored, that President Muhammadu Buhari is committed to this process and his inspired leadership has been behind the drive to ensure that Nigeria does not miss the DSO deadline of June 2017.”
It would be recalled that Pinnacle Communications Limited became the preferred bidders and winners of the Second National License as the Second signal distributors for the Nigerian Digital Switch Over (DSO). Unfortunately, it was soon after that process that the relationship between the two parties became strained leading to the institution of a legal action by Pinnacle Communications Limited.